CHARLESTON, W.Va. — New mandatory security features for school construction in West Virginia could add up to $175,000 to an individual project.
The West Virginia School Building Authority on Monday approved the security measures, which require schools built next year to have shatterproof glass, a line-of-sight entry, mantraps and a panic button.
The SBA guidelines are projected to raise the cost of new construction to $253 per square foot, a hike of $3.
“It’s a small price to pay to assure our children are safe,” said SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin.
Manchin said the security improvements will also be part of projects currently under design, including a new East Fairmont High School in Marion County, a project at St. Marys High School in Pleasants County and the new Leading Creek Elementary School for Gilmer and Lewis counties.
Manchin said funds are already tight for new school construction and adding an additional $175,000 will be a challenge, though it’s a step that must be taken.
“It’s going to cost a little bit more now to build a school, but it’s money well spent,” he said.
The next round of funding for school construction projects will be handed out next spring. The SBA expects to have about $50 million to allocate to various counties.